Women have excelled as artists in South Africa, unlike in most other countries around the world where women have played a secondary role to men.
Think of the history of art and try to name 10 international artists who are women. And yet South African art has been led by women since the beginning of the 20th century. Irma Stern and Maggie Laubser were forerunners in bringing German Expressionist influences into local art. The Everard Group, consisting of several generations of innovative women, made their impact on the art scene.
Penny Siopis is currently one of South Africa’s most important artists. Cape-born Marlene Dumas, who now lives in Amsterdam, has established an international reputation as one of the top artists, regularly featuring in lists of the top ten women artists at auction worldwide.
Senzeni Marasela established a new auction record when her work honouring Sarah Baartman sold at Aspire Art Auctions’ Cape Town sale in March 2017. Diane Victor’s powerful drawings explore anxieties and constraints that limit us.
Nandipha Mntambo’s Praça de Touros shows the artist donning a bullfighter’s outfit to address notions of colonial and gender power. The Dancer by Doreen Southwood explores the complex balancing act every woman has to negotiate.
When Aspire Art Auctions sold a photograph by major international artist, Marina Abramoviæ, for just under R1,5 million, it was cause for much celebration, proving that an artist who wowed the world with her solo show at MOMA, New York, can attract competitive bidding here.
Golden Mask by Marina Abramoviæ, one of the world’s highest profile living artists, was released in 2010, the year in which she staged The Artist is Present at MOMA in New York. Its recent sale in Johannesburg for just under R1,5 million is cause for much celebration, proving that an artist who wowed the world can attract competitive bidding here.
All of these artists, and many more, have sold well and many have broken records at Aspire Art Auctions’ recent sales.